How Pierson Did on His Vet Visit

Maya and Pierson at Vet Office

Maya and Pierson are sitting in the main room of the vet office, waiting to be called into one of the little rooms for their annual examination.

Pierson went to the vet last week for his annual checkup and for one of his vaccines. He is terrified of the vet, so I wanted to try to make his visit more comfortable this time around. Last week, I talked about some of the things I was going to do. Today, I’m going to tell you whether or not they worked.

Firstly, I was unable to use the Thundershirt to help him because I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked and looked and the only thing I could think of was that I donated it along with some dog seat belts to our local humane society. Secondly, I forgot that I had been given a K-10 calming product to sample. K-10 is a powder formula you put in your dog’s water. They have different kinds. They have the K-10 multivitamin, K-10 UT support, K-10 Omega-3, and K-10 Calming. So I put this stuff in my dogs’ water bowl for two days prior to Pierson’s vet visit.

Other than the two differences above, everything else I talked about last week was done. We visited the vet daily, I put some Travel Calm on him, and I took Maya with us. Did these things help? I think so.

Pierson was still a little nervous on his visit. But he eagerly ate up the treats that the staff handed him and he let them pet him. He seemed to do okay when we sat in the little room. Other than being agitated at the sounds of other dogs in the hall, he showed no signs of being nervous.

However, all that changed when the vet tried to approach him with a needle. She needed to draw blood to test for heartworms and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Pierson did not snap or growl, but his fear was quite evident so we had him muzzled for just in case. And when he was held and the blood drawn, he both peed and pooped on himself. But amazingly, he did not struggle to get away. And he still didn’t growl or try to bite.

So while he did better on this visit, I don’t think there is a way to help him get over his fear of being stuck with a needle. That is not something you can desensitize a dog to. So for next year, I think we will just continue to make occasional fun visits to the vet. This way when the day comes again, he won’t be nervous except for the needle-sticking part.

I am also considering getting some of his vaccines at the feed store and administering them myself. Pierson lets me brush his teeth and cut his nails so I seriously doubt he would have any trouble with me sticking him with a needle. I think his problem is mostly with strangers getting so close to him. Being petted by strangers is one thing. Being handled by them is quite another.

So what do you think I can do to help Pierson next year?

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12 Responses to “How Pierson Did on His Vet Visit”

  1. Donna O. Says:

    So sorry that Pierson has such a strong phobia to getting needles. (I can’t say I blame him, I’m not thrilled with the thought either). Glad you are trying so hard to help him….it’s a difficult problem…especially because, as you said, it’s not like you are going to go around sticking him with needles to try and desensitize him.

  2. Marcie Says:

    Glad he is at going to the vet and taking treats without too much stress. Sounds like progress!

  3. jodi Says:

    Oh my, I hate that he is so afraid. I think you are doing everything you can to help him with this, just keep doing it!

  4. The Golden Life Says:

    I agree with Jodi — keep doing what you’ve been doing. Don’t stop the social visits to the vet in between the check-up visits though.

  5. Ann Staub Says:

    Well, it seems like you’re already doing some really good stuff to help him out. It’s no fun to be stuck with needles! I gave Shiner a vaccine once before I went to school for the vet tech stuff. You just have to make sure you don’t dull out your needle by poking it in the diluent too many times. Otherwise it’s going to be like trying to stab a leathery cow =/

  6. Joanne Says:

    Poor Pierson, what a shamey…however you couldn’t really have done more, thank goodness vacs only once a year. Are you allowed in US to administer these yourself or have i misunderstood ?? In UK, no way, we are not allowed at all.

  7. Lindsay Says:

    Poor guy. Yeah I’m not sure what you can do either except maybe do them yourself like you suggested.

    One of my cats is very fearful at the vet and does try to bite and scratch. I haven’t been able to do anything for him either. I try to just get in and out as quickly as possible. The longer we wait around, the more agitated he gets. For him, it’s a fear of strangers too.

  8. 2browndawgs Says:

    Poor Pierson. Freighter does not like that heart worm needle either.

  9. snoopys@snoopysdogblog Says:

    I think you’re a pawsome Mom to him and doing everything possible! I’m with him though, I totally hate the vet or tech coming near me! Especially if they have a thermometer or needle in their hand rather than a treat!

    I hide behind my Mum in the corner and always have to be muzzled if they really need to do something. I’m a suspicious dog anyway, I think I’d be ok if it was Mum doing whatever it is, but I don’t trust the vet people! (Even though they’re really nice actually!)

    Big wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

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